For immediate release
Contact: Marilyn Wimp, Manager of Media Relations, (215) 574-4197
Firms responding to May’s Business Outlook Survey indicated that manufacturing growth fell back from the pace of recent months. The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, fell from a reading of 8.5 in April to -5.8 in May.
The survey’s broad indicators for general activity fell into negative territory for the first time in eight months. Firms reported lower levels of activity and nearly flat new orders and employment. Overall price pressures were reported to be on the wane this month. The outlook among the reporting firms was notably less optimistic.
In special questions this month, firms were asked about the factors that are influencing their production and hiring plans. Among the top three factors restraining hiring, the need to keep operating costs low (50 percent) ranked nearly as high as expected low sales growth (51 percent). Uncertainty about health-care costs, the inability to find skilled workers, and uncertainty about regulations and policies were also prominently listed.
This survey, which was started in 1968, gathers information on the manufacturing industry in the Third Federal Reserve District covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. The survey asks about the current pace of business in the participants' plants and their future expectations of business.
To arrange an interview, contact Marilyn Wimp, the Bank’s manager of media relations, at (215) 574-4197. The next Business Outlook Survey will be released at 10 a.m., June 21, 2012, and will be made available on our website and over Businesswire. The aggregate historical data series is also available on the Bank’s website.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank and savings and loan holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank serves eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.